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GPLv3 - A Primer on Open Warfare in Open Source 449

Posted by Zonk
from the tuxes-go-marching-two-by-two-hurrah-hurrah dept.
savio13 writes "A BusinessWeek article about the GPLv3 starts to shed some light on where things are, and what the hold up is in getting the newest version out. They discuss the Stallman vs. Torvalds conflict, issues with DRM, the goal of 'one-stop licensing', and the ever-more-likely possibility that the newest version of the GPL just isn't relevant." From the article: "The impetus to make a profit (and its associated compromises) isn't sitting well with true believers in free software. And the resulting rifts were apparent at last week's LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco. On one side is Richard Stallman and his Free Software Foundation. When Stallman says "free" he doesn't mean price, he means freedom. He believes all software should be freely available to be modified by the public. And for him, this is nothing short of a moral fight. On the other is Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux. He and others in his open-source camp believe that freely sharing code simply produces the best software, but if other people want to hide their code, that's fine, too. Companies will just vote with their feet."
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GPLv3 - A Primer on Open Warfare in Open Source

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  • by albalbo (33890) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:16AM (#15948288) Homepage
    While it's pretty early in the process still, it seems a bit unfair to characterise it as "Stallman vs. Torvalds". IIRC, Newsforge tried to contact others who were unhappy with the licence and couldn't find any - the only criticism has been offered by HP saying that the changes on patents still weren't enough for them or something, but that they were happy with the process.

    It sounds like a mountain of a story being made out of a molehill of comments.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      It is a case these are the two biggest and well known voices. Sure there are others but Stallman is the creator of GNU and Linus is the Creator of one of the most successful GNU application (Apache has a different license). It is more compelling story of two people with a common beleafe and are respected who are diverging in direction.
      • My objections about DRM are fairly mild. I understand the concern from companies like Tivo (but this is irrelevant-- nothing stops anyone from making a Tivo clone and not including the DRM. You just can't use their hardware). In the end, I think the GPL v2 actually encouraged freedom on a structural level in a way that the GPL v3 does not. The real concern is not about Tivo. It is about large media companies requiring DRM in such a way that free software as we know it ceases to exist. So on the whole,
        • by TuringTest (533084) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:56AM (#15949081) Journal
          At GPLv2 there weren't clear definitions of "modified version", "interaction", or "source code", for that matter.

          And I can't see why the technical detail of using the software through a network, instead that in the same machine, should vary the intent of the GPL - which is to allow the users of a program, in any form, the freedom to tailor it to their needs and execute it in their own.

          Encapsulating the program in a remote server in effectively a way to circunvect the freedom protected by GPL. Why should it be allowed by the license? How does preventing this loophole become a "stretching" of the original intent?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hswerdfe (569925)
            How does preventing this loophole become a "stretching" of the original intent?

            I have a diffrent consept of the Intent of GPLv2.
            I thought it was to allow you to know what was being executed on your machine (hardware or virtual).
            so if I own and run a machine I should have a right to know what is happening to that machine. and I should be able to change it to make it do what I want, on my machine.

            but if I comunicate with somebody elses machine (via network) I don't need to know what will be executed on there
    • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:29AM (#15948380) Homepage Journal

      Here's the newsforge story ("Torvalds' comments on GPLv3 committees refuted") [newsforge.com].

      I blogged about this and added more info about the committees [fsfe.org].

      One last think I want to point at is a side-by-side diff with the changes highlighted [fsfeurope.org] from draft 1 to draft 2 so everyone can see the responses to the public process that the committees talk about in the Newsforge article.

    • Stallman vs. Torvalds
      Round GPL3... Fight!!!

      Stalhman Wins.
      Flawless Victory.
      Finish Him!
      [up,up,down,forward,L1,R2,back]
      ...rips kernel out of Linux...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The only people really bickering over the GPLv3 are people like RMS or Eric Raymond, and various journalists. They are people who may have done some development in the past, but today do little but advocate and talk.

    Most of the developers, the people who actually develop the open source software we use on a daily basis, have considered the situation and made a decision. Instead of dealing with the GPLv3, they realize that they can get just as much freedom and benefit by switching to another license. Some wi
    • by rakshat (950888) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:24AM (#15948346)
      Are u from the future where GPLv3 has already been finalised and there are softwares being licensed under it? If yes will you please tell me if google did build a moon base in 2016?
    • by Bob Uhl (30977)
      Many have wisely chosen to go the BSD or MIT license route.

      Wisely? Wisely?!? That's more than a little begging the question: how praytell is a BSD-style license wise? It means that one's code can be incorporated into proprietary software, and that one will not necessarily receive bug fixes or improvements. How is that wise?

      One wonders if this AC is a Microsoft astroturfer...

    • Most of the developers, the people who actually develop the open source software we use on a daily basis, have considered the situation and made a decision. Instead of dealing with the GPLv3, they realize that they can get just as much freedom and benefit by switching to another license. Some will just stick with the GPLv2. Many have wisely chosen to go the BSD or MIT license route. Many have actually gone the BSD or MIT route after seeing how it opens up their project for commercial development, which is o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well this as quick and dirty an analysis that you can get but I think it illustrates that you may be off by a bit...

      for d in /bin /sbin /usr/bin /usr/sbin; do

      strings $d/* | grep -i Copyright | grep "Free Software" | wc -l

      done

      Results:
      /bin - 48
      /sbin - 5
      /usr/bin - 188
      /usr/sbin - 4

      So... There appears to be quite a few programs on my Debian GNU/Linux system that are still Copyright Free Software Foundation.
      Bet hey, YMMV. Maybe I'm the only one running Debian [netcraft.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If Torvalds chooses not to go with version 3 for Linux, the Free Software Foundation will become even more irrelevant to the business world of open source.

    So does that mean we call it Linux/GNU then?
  • by virtuald (996377) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:26AM (#15948358) Homepage Journal
    I think that the reason the GPL has been so popular is because it served the needs of the developers that used it. I think that everyone involved in the GPLv3 process is going to recognize that they need to put the needs of the community first, and in the end -- everyone is going to be mostly happy.

    Or nobody will use it. :)
    • by byolinux (535260) *
      Lots of people will use it the day it comes out as an awful lot of software under GPLv2 automatically uses GPLv3 :)
      • by fbjon (692006)
        No, the user will have the option to follow either version. Nobody is being forced into anything.
    • by Ruie (30480) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:47AM (#15948518) Homepage
      The impetus to make a profit (and its associated compromises) isn't sitting well with true believers in free software.

      This has nothing to do with not letting someone else make a profit and has all to do with not letting someone else lock you into some restricted platform and extort all they can get away with.

      In response to grandparent, GPLv3 will become very relevant when you see some scum mass produce a $150 computer with GNU/Linux that is cryptographically locked and then sell $10 "extension" cartridges with popular free software, in the same way that Sony locks its gaming consoles.

      GPL is about freedom to modify and share code and DRM implementations take away your ability to modify your software.

    • by RingDev (879105)
      you realise that this:

      ...GPL has been so popular is because it served the needs of the developers that used it.

      and this:

      ...everyone involved in the GPLv3 process is going to recognize that they need to put the needs of the community first

      are likely often to be exclusive. The problem with trying to force freedom onto people is that one person's freedom means another person's limitation. In this case, you are taking freedoms from the developers and giving it to the community. That's great for the community,

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Znork (31774)
        "And seeing as how the developer(or producer) is the one that selects the license, I don't see this as an easy sell."

        You're missing the fact that the developers selecting the license are not the same developers that get limited by the license.

        The original developer putting something under the GPL essentially makes a protected donation to the community in question, with the explicit intention of preventing free riders (or they'd put their code under BSD or similar license). That the GPL v3 strengthens the an
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While there is nothing wrong with being idealic and passionate about the things you believe in it is very important to keep an open mind and make sure you're not driving things into extreme world of total unrealism. And that is exactly what is happening here in my opinion.

    While the ideal to have a "free" world filled with people who share their work no matter the cost may sound very appealing, so does the world of Utopia or paradise. In the real world this isn't going to happen, not in the amounts these p
  • by junglee_iitk (651040) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:34AM (#15948419)

    I don't really understand what is the exact problem with GPL 3. If free software means one must be free to alter the software he runs, it was implied that one must be able to alter the software he runs and be able to test it. Unfortunately it was not directly said in GPL 2 and companies were using this fact as a tool to deny others to modify the code and use it. Now it will said in GPL 3.

    I mean, it is like, you are free to say whatever you want but no voice should come out. Of course it should! That is what is meant with freedom!

    And those who say it just brings out good code, well, for me, freedom is not about being good or bad, but being free. The whole GPL was based on the free-software philosophy. If you didn't like the philosophy, you didn't need to adhere to GPL in the first place. If you did, nothing is being changed!

    Btw, nowadays(tm) even Linus is not adding much to the kernel but is more into maintaining it. And the real concern of Linus is that companies contributing to Kernel may panic and stop doing so. What is this RMS vs. Linus?

  • DRMed hardware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:34AM (#15948421) Journal
    I hate to do it, but I have to agree with Stallman on the one actual point of disagreement mentioned in TFA. That is, if a hardware manufacturer releases source for a software product which drives their hardware but the hardware won't actually run modified versions, that's not really "open source" (and certainly not "free software"). That's "look but don't touch".
    • by c (8461)

      ...if a hardware manufacturer releases source for a software product which drives their hardware but the hardware won't actually run modified versions...

      That's not a problem.

      The big problem is if enough hardware manufacturers lock things down like that, then people who actually care about being able to hack/upgrade/brick their purchases won't be able to do what Linus suggests, which is to vote with their wallets.

      In a market free of large, hostile, illegal monopolies, greedy copyright holders, and ass

    • After all, there's nothing stopping you from taking their software and modifying it then using it on your own, different, hardware. They never ever claimed that their hardware would be able to run arbitrary software, after all. And if you wanted to create a whateverWidget you'd be way ahead in that the software, at least, would already exist and be open, and you'd just have to reverse-engineer (or fresh design) some hardware to run it on.

      Admittedly you could make the point that vendors of embedded hardwar
  • I have always thought that the prinicpal practical reason for the GPL (aside from the philosophical reasons of freedom) is that without the safeguards of having to release modified code, a company can use the vast library of GPL software to short-cut their development process and then make profits without having to financially recognise the contribution from the legions of people who have contributed. Like patents and copyright, the GPL is a bargain between contributors in addition to those provided by usua
  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:38AM (#15948442) Homepage Journal

    The article argues that copyleft (not free software) is anti-business. This is clearly not true because the copylefted free Unix-like operating system (GNU/Linux) has far more business contributions and business models base on it than the non-copylefted free Unix-like operating systems (the free BSDs).

    So companies have voted with their feet and have sent a clear message that they will work with copylefted free software.

    The GNU GPL requires that everyone play fair. Many companies will look for ways to be the only person who is exempt from the rules, but free software will not gain acceptance by ditching copyleft and pandering to a few new best friends.

  • by hey! (33014) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:40AM (#15948457) Homepage Journal
    The impetus to make a profit (and its associated compromises) isn't sitting well with true believers in free software.

    I think most free software advocates take great pains to state they aren't anti-profit. They're against profit gained from activities they see as immoral.

    It sometimes seems like this is the same position, but it's not. Any position of morality has this effect whether it is being against slavery or child exploitation. Accepting any moral rule is bound to render some profitable activities immoral. What muddies the water is when you have a lot at stake. It's hard to reason objectively if you see great harm or great benefits from one course of action vs. another.

    You end up weighing one set of envisioned benefits and harms vs. another. This is where moral reasoning gets tricky becuase you are no longer in the world of pure ideas, but dealing with predictions and probabilities.

    DRM is a perfect example. Much depends on what you project the impact of widely adopted DRM to be. Human reasoning being what it is, when we are for something we see the benefits clearly and have trouble perceiving the downsides; when we are against it the opposite holds. DRM advocates believe that artists can only surivive economically with DRM; opponents think artists will find a way to survive. Opponents think DRM will be the end of intellectual freedom; proponents think that people will find a way to express themselves.

    There is a third philosophical position, which is agnostic but somewhat libertarian:whether or not you are for DRM, if people want to link DRM modules into your code it's none of your business. Yet, I think, that people in this position might have trouble defending it if they truly believed the end of intellectual freedom would result.

    Finally there are the radical positions: DRM is wrong whether it is good for society or not. OR: protection of indvidual intellectual property is paramount no matter what the cost to society. By in large people who take the radical positions will also claim that pragmatism backs them up. However, I think this actually makes them less convincing. The only reason to trot out practical consequences is if your hearer doesn't agree with your fundamental position.
  • From the summary...

    The impetus to make a profit (and its associated compromises) isn't sitting well with true believers in free software.

    ... and then they go on to imply that only if you hide your code, you can make a profit. Thus, Torvalds is compatible with making a profit, while Stallman is not. I don't buy this. And what's more, I can't believe that a reputed magazine such as BusinessWeek still knows nothing better than to perpetuate that myth.

    What Stallman says is that free access to info

  • What does it say about a society whose journalists shamelessly portray civil discourse about software licensing as "open war?" I find that headline insulting and disgusting - insulting because it assumes readers are stupid enough to be excited by such excessive hyperbole, and disgusted that in a great age of communication, people still pay attention to "journalists" who would stoop so low.
  • ...eliminates much of your freedom.

    Stallman "should" realize this.
  • And so it begins (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:51AM (#15948550) Homepage
    While free software purists debate things like binary-only drivers, the rest of the world moves on with more important issues. Do you want hardware support, huh? Do you want companies to actually build products on open source software stacks? Then stop begrudging them the right to choose what works for them, so long as it is in compliance with the basic requirements. Stop doing this little totalitarian inquisition of whether a company is a "good corporate citizen" based on whether or not they "do enough." I almost can't believe that people actually debate whether or not Google should have to open up its code because of the "spirit of the GPL."

    This sort of moral grandstanding pisses me off. It accomplishes nothing other than to serve as a sort of self-esteem booster for rigid ideologues for when they inevitably fail to adapt to reality. It's mental masturbation that has all of the pleasantries of a clusterbomb going off on a playground because of how many people it denies a future to. You want freedom? Learn to live in *gasp* a pluralistic society. That means that some people might not like Open Source Uber Alles.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by UtucXul (658400)

      While free software purists debate things like binary-only drivers, the rest of the world moves on with more important issues. Do you want hardware support, huh? Do you want companies to actually build products on open source software stacks?

      The problems people have with binary drivers are not just from a free software purity point of view. Have you dealt with buggy NVidia or ATI drivers (or wireless cards) in GNU/Linux (or a BSD)? Often enough, these binary only drivers are among the slowest to get fi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anandsr (148302)
      A company is not a good OSS citizen if it doesn't share alike, period. There are no ifs and buts about it.
      It is rigid idealogues that get anything done in this world, not the convinience loving people like you and me. They are the ones that change the reality for you and me. We are just the cogs in the wheel. They bring about any change that really happens. Of course there are good and bad idealogies. This one is a definite good, just like Software Patents is a definite bad. Copywrite is somewhere in the gr
  • Who to thank (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NewToNix (668737) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:51AM (#15948553) Journal
    Being American, this has an American slant - feel free to change it to suit your country...

    If you can read this, thank a teacher
    If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier
    If you use GNU/Linux, thank RMS

    If you can run your OSS program sans a compiler, then you could thank Linus.

    The point is that like the soldier, RMS made it possible for Linus to excel with his Kernel.

    It could also be argued that Hurd wasn't getting the job done and Linus did.

    But in the final analysis you need to consider which came first - no GNU tools, no nice OS to use - the kernel is just a file system, a very useful one, true, but only when combined with the free things RMS had spent years fighting for..

    One should never forget, or undervalue the soldier - even when it 'seems' his time has passed... because it never really does.

    And yes you can just put me down as a FSF fanboy... I'm rather proud of it.

    /. is just a bunch of vaguely related opinions, this one is mine...

    • by everphilski (877346) on Monday August 21, 2006 @11:03AM (#15949135) Journal
      A linux operating system cannot work without a CPU.
      Therefore the CPU is part of the linux operating system.
      Therefore the operating systems which I use are AMD/linux and Intel/linux.

      (from here) [topology.org]

      Linus has said before that he could have used any compiler, and any userland, its just that GNU was there at the right time. A distro could be built on BSD, or an environment based on icc (yes, it compiles the kernel)
  • wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes (861706) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:58AM (#15948605) Journal
    [RMS] believes all software should be freely available to be modified by the public.

    That's a mis-characterization of Richard Stallman's viewpoint. He doesn't believe that all software source code should be available to the public. Rather, he believes that all source code should be available to the end user. There is an important difference.

    'Free' software is not about creating a gigantic repository of source code. It's about each user having the freedom to modify the computer software they are using. A group of users can keep a piece of software (and associated source code) hidden from the public quite easily. The point RMS is trying to make is that it is inneficient, artificial and even immoral to restrict the user of software from viewing/modifying the internals of said software.

    Of course when software is intended for public consumption, then under the FSF ideal the source code will be available to the public (and indeed we end up with repositories like sourceforge). But to comply with the GPL you don't need to post your code on a public server: you need only make it available to the users.
    • That's a mis-characterization of Richard Stallman's viewpoint. He doesn't believe that all software source code should be available to the public. Rather, he believes that all source code should be available to the end user. There is an important difference.

      Doesn't the GPL then also say that the end-user can freely redistribute the source and binaries? Doesn't that in effect make the source available to the public?

      There are licenses which give the source code to the end-user, but don't allow for redistribu

      • by kebes (861706)
        Yes the GPL specifically requires that distribution be allowed. I see what you're saying: in effect this means that any end-user can make the source public.

        But it does not mean that the end-user (or the distributor) *has* to make the source public, and that's what I was getting at.

        For instance, if you use GPL code internally in an organization, then you don't have to release the code outside the organization. Your internal users must have access to the source, but you don't *have* to release it to the outsi
  • Obligatory comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PietjeJantje (917584) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:05AM (#15948664)
    "He and others in his open-source camp believe that freely sharing code simply produces the best software, but if other people want to hide their code, that's fine, too."

    Like with MIT or BSD licenses?

    I don't get Linus. I don't like GPL, but as many people do like it and use it, I think there's a use for it and it's ok (that's freedom too). But Linus stated repeatedly to have picked GPL not because for "free" software, but for business reasons, so other businesses would contribute without worrying of competitors running away with the work and closing it. It is called as one of the reaons Linux is so succesful. For many, this is the sole purpose of picking GPL, not because they are hippies, but a practical choise not to be boycotted by potentially contributing companies (quite anti-hippy). So what made him change his mind and why didn't he choose MIT or BSD to begin with? These are -the- licenses if you don't mind others hiding code, exporting it to Mars, or yell it verse-like from towerlike structures towards the east, even for profit.

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      I don't get Linus.


      It might be because you're trying to delve the thoughts and beliefs of a person based on paraphrasing of a reporter (one that sounds very much like an out-sider to Open Source at that).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Linus adopted GPLv2 because he is in favor of reciprocity -- if he gives you something, then you need to give back. In his view, there's a reasonable level at which reciprocity should be demanded, and then a deeper level at which it should not be demanded. He believes that GPLv3 goes too far, and demands complementary gifts which exceed reciprocal giving.

      That's a perfectly reasonable position, no matter whether you agree with his line or not.

  • by m874t232 (973431) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:14AM (#15948735)
    On the other is Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux. He and others in his open-source camp believe that freely sharing code simply produces the best software, but if other people want to hide their code, that's fine, too."

    If that's truly Linus's opinion, then Linus should have picked the BSD license for his kernel, not GPLv2.

    In any case, look at the relative success of the BSD and Linux kernels. The BSD kernel was much further advanced when Linux first came out, yet the Linux kernel is much more popular. At the very least, its GPLv2 license doesn't seem to have been in the way.

    And, frankly, personally I really don't care about Linus's opinion anyway; the only part Linus provides for the "Linux" operating system is the kernel. If the Linux kernel project fell apart for whatever reason, the impact on Ubuntu, RedHat, Fedora, SuSE, etc. would be small since the Linux kernel would be replaced fairly quickly.
  • by twitter (104583) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:20AM (#15948786) Homepage Journal

    The two biggest sticking points are patents and digital rights management. HP's objection is a part of the license that says anything touched by GPL code becomes open source. In other words, if a company bundles its hardware with open-source software and ships it to customers, it surrenders rights to enforce patents.

    The author of the article has confused a lot of old FUD with the issues dug up by Tivo. Patens and DRM are the focus of GPL 3 because they undermine the intentions of the GPL. The enemies of free software have bought a lot of bad legislation and piles of bogus patents. That's why a change in the GPL is happening. Let's keep looking.

    When Stallman says "free" he doesn't mean price, he means freedom. He believes all software should be freely available to be modified by the public. And for him, this is nothing short of a moral fight. On the other is Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux. He and others in his open-source camp believe that freely sharing code simply produces the best software

    It's amazing how the copyright warriors can be so heavy about author intentions and control of work on one hand and then so completely misrepresent this issue on the other. The issue that GPL 3 is trying to fix is best represented by Tivo. Tivo runs GPL'd software and the makers have enjoyed great quality and savings by doing that. The problem is that they have managed to completely thwart all of the GPL's and the software author's intentions with DRM. Tivo will give you a copy of the source code for their device. You can compile it but you can't run it because Tivo locked the hardware with software keys. It won't run your changes. This might not seem like a big deal to people who are used to non free video boxes, until they realize that the Tivo is not very different from any other computer. Without GPL 3, non free software companies can freely use the entire GPL codebase but lock out their users worse than Bill Gates ever imagined. This is an issue that the copyright warriors can't win if they pretend any respect for the author.

    I suppose that's why the specter of "big business" is brought up. IBM, Chrysler and others can tell you there's nothing anti-business about the present GPL. They are making and saving tons of money without stepping on their users or the authors of the software they use. When you drop user rights and author rights all you are left with to argue is "non free is better for business" which is something few people will believe.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:24AM (#15948820) Homepage

    I think BW underestimates the relevance of the FSF. Yes, Linux uses GPLv2 only. Yes Mozilla uses their own license. But if you look at the basic toolchain that Linux, Mozilla and the like use, the majority of that infrastructure's copyright rests with... the Free Software Foundation. Use GCC to compile? Depend on Bash, flex, bison? They'll be moving to GPLv3. Even something as basic as grep, chances are if you're on a Linux system you use the FSF's version of it.

    It's also going to depend on developers, not companies (unless those companies are also the developers and copyright holders on the programs). I'd note that one of the tipping points for the GPL was when people started to find GPL'd software in commercial products which the code owners themselves were locked out of by lack of source code. I think the same pattern will repeat, with the GPLv3 being RMS-only for a bit and then it'll pick up steam when a few high-profile developers want to modify a neat device and find they're locked out of modifying their own code by DRM.

    That said, it's unlikely the Linux kernel will ever move to GPLv3 regardless of what Linus thinks simply because of the infeasability of contacting every copyright holder. It's been mentioned as a protection: there's so many copyright holders no company (say, Microsoft) could get authorization from all of them to put their release of the Linux kernel under a more restrictive license. The same thing applies to any contemplated change to GPLv3.

  • law versus license (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stites (993570) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:26AM (#15948833)
    One of the problems that we are having with creating GPL3 is that a license is not a very effective way to solve the DRM and software patent problems. DRM and software patents are embedded in the law. When there is a conflict between the law and a license then the law takes precedence. So GPL3 does not have much maneuvering room to solve the problems that DRM and software patents cause Open Source.

    I agree with Richard Stallman's efforts to put clauses in GPL3 to alleviate the DRM and software patent problems. However, I don't have much hope that these clauses will be very effective.

    I think that a much more effective course of action is to try to change the laws on DRM and software patents. I think that we should lobby governments all over the world to abolish software patents. In the case of DRM I think that the DRM copyright protection should be legal but that the DRM laws should not contain clauses making it illegal to create software or hardware which can copy DRM protected material. The act of copying copyrighted material should be illegal but the act of creating a copying machine should be legal.

    -----------------------
    Steve Stites
  • There is nothing more liberating than being able to tell someone else No.
  • Stop the insanity! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sax Maniac (88550) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:30AM (#15948867) Homepage Journal
    When Stallman says "free" he doesn't mean price, he means freedom.

    ARRRGHGHGHGHGHH!! If I read this once more I'll puke. Why doesn't the FSF rename itself to the Freedom Software Foundation and stop explaining it over and over and over and over and over and over...

  • 2 vs 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XenoPhage (242134)
    I'm definitely no lawyer, and I sometimes have a hard time following all of the crazy language used in licenses, so please bear with me. I'm looking for correction here.. :)

    As I understand it, the GPL in it's current form (v2) allows for modifications to the existing code if, and only if, that code is then posted with the same license. Correct? However, if you're using it for yourself, then there's no need to post the source unless you want to. You are limited, however, in that you cannot re-distribute
  • Free is Free (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:41AM (#15948957)
    It's nice for RMS to quantify his position by saying "By Free I mean Freedom" but the end result is the same. Perhaps someone can post a time when Richard said, "Yeah, the price on this software is just right" and there is actually a dollar amount specified. The truth is, there's a need for paid software. Paid for software produces some good stuff. It's not the endall but it has a right to exist. It feeds a fundemental human need, to be compensated. Glory alone is not a system of compensation and never will be.
  • by MCRocker (461060) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @04:12PM (#15958430) Homepage
    From TFA:
    Back in the early 1990s, the notion of software that's open to input by any developer who cares to monkey with it was pretty radical - So much so that it needed a license.
    Nonsense!!!

    Stallman created the GPL because the radical idea of making software proprietary was beginning to become the norm, replacing the original way of doing things openly. When AT&T started licensing UNIX, a things were starting to change. Before that, the UNIX and other project source code was shared openly, but there was no formal license. So AT&T simply changed the rules. RMS realized that there needed to be a formal way to ensure that software could be explicitly declared free and the GPL became the way to do that.

    So, the idea was not radical, but rather an attempt to go back to the way everything used to be done, but in a formal declared way.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

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